By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Oklahoma State University equestrian team has fared well in the Animal Life Sciences Arena, as it won five of their six matches. The Cowgirls hope their success continues as they host the Big 12 championship Friday and Saturday.
“To have some of the best collegiate equestrian teams in the country right in our conference coming for a competition all at the same time in Stillwater, is going to make for a great event,” Oklahoma State coach Larry Sanchez said.
The Cowgirls’ (9-5) only home loss was to TCU but Oklahoma State won in Fort Worth, Texas. Oklahoma State is the top seed and faces Baylor, a team the Cowgirls split with in the regular season. The winner will face Kansas State or TCU.
All four Big 12 teams split with each other. The Cowgirls earned the top seed because they had the higher point spread. Sanchez said they earned their position but added the competition will be tough.
“I’m proud of how the girls have ridden all year long,” Sanchez said. “It’s nice for them to be recognized for that in the seeding. All the teams in the Big 12 are tough. No matter who you compete against, you got to bring your ‘A’ game and ride your best.”
The 2013 season is the second year that equestrian is a fully-sponsored Big 12 sport. Before that the sport was supported on a limited basis for those three seasons. The three champions — Oklahoma State (2009), Baylor (2010) and Texas A&M (2011) hosted the event.
Entering this season’s tournament as the defending conference champion, Sanchez said his team needs to do what they did all year.
“We have to ride the way we have, all year long,” Sanchez said. “We don’t want to change anything because this is a championship. We got to continue doing what we’ve been doing because its worked to this point.”
Similar to basketball, a selection committee will meet after the conference tournaments to determine the national tournament.
“All of our competitions are considered,” Sanchez said. “The conference championship counts in the selection process. The committee will meet Monday and we will find out on Tuesday.”